October is Pizza month which means it’s a great time to experiment with this classic Italian-cum-American dish. Everyone has their favorite kind of pizza toppings from the pedestrian — pepperoni or cheese — to the personal — anchovies — to the positively baffling — eggs or pineapple. That makes this a great month to try to vary up your own choice of toppings, sauces, spices, dough mixes, and more and we have a couple of great recipes to help you get started!
Do remember, though, that eating pizza every day is a bad idea for your waistline. Cook and consume by all means but do so responsibly!
Exotic Mushroom Pizza
1 (12-inch) pre-baked pizza crust
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
3 shallots or mild onion, thinly sliced or minced
1 pound assorted exotic mushrooms, sliced or chopped (if using shiitakes, remove inedible stems)
1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
1 -ounce gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
8 ounces fontina cheese, grated or thinly sliced (this is easier to do if cheese is cold)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pizza stone or pizza pan
Put pizza stone in oven and heat to 425 degrees. While stone is heating, brush olive oil evenly over shell and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until oil bubbles. (If using thin crust pizza, you can eliminate pre-baking of the pizza crust.)
While shell bakes begin cooking the mushrooms. Heat saute or fry pan on high heat, add the oil, garlic and shallots and quickly saute for approximately 30 seconds. Do not allow the garlic/shallot mixture to burn.
Add mushrooms to hot pan, saute quickly until most of the mushroom juices have evaporated (3 to 5 minutes), then add wine. Continue to saute until wine completely evaporates and mushrooms have turned a darker shade or brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove mushroom mixture from heat.
Remove shell from oven (leave stone in oven to keep it hot) and allow to cool slightly. Spread the gorgonzola cheese evenly over the warm crust so that it melts slightly. You can dip your fingers in olive oil to spread the gorgonzola. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the crust. Add the Fontina cheese, distributing it as evenly as possible. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place on hot stone in oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Cool and cut into small rectangles for hors d’oeuvres or into pie-shaped pieces for first course or main course portions. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe can be adjusted to suit personal taste such as adding dried, red hot pepper or use different cheeses; however you should not eliminate the gorgonzola. It can be served with champagne as an hors d’oeuvre and with dry red wine as an appetizer or main course with a tossed salad.
Recipe via: Food Network
Nasturtium Flower Dough
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dried yeast (about 1 1/4 teaspoons)
2 1/2 cups high-gluten bread flour
1 cup semolina flour,* plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup nasturtium flowers
*If you can’t find semolina, substitute high-gluten bread flour.
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup herb flower pesto
About 1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese
1/3 cup nasturtium flowers
Other toppings of your choice
Put warm water, sugar, and oil in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes, until mixture foams. In a medium bowl, stir to combine flours, salt, and nasturtium flowers. Sprinkle flour mixture into yeast mixture. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and bouncy. Cover the bowl with a cotton kitchen towel and let stand for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in volume.
Turn dough onto a surface dusted with flour and knead by pushing it away from your body with the heel of your hand, folding it over, and repeating about 12 times. Divide dough into two balls. At this point, dough can be baked or stored for up to 2 days in the refrigerator on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Rub two baking sheets with olive oil and dust with semolina flour. Stretch out each dough ball by tapping and pressing outward from the center with your fingertips. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Cover with toppings of your choice. Bake pizzas for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking so the dough browns evenly. Slice, serve, and enjoy.